Americans love their lawns, and they’re keeping their local landscaping businesses busy. Even still, no landscaping business owner is immune to dry patches, thorny regulations, or weedy competitors that can get in the way of progress. But they’re always willing to look on the bright side, where the grass is always greener.
Still, in order to get to the tree-lined path to business success, landscaping businesses have to overcome their biggest industry challenges:
- Hiring/Retaining Quality Employees
In their latest Lawn Care Industry Outlook Turf notes, “the foundation of the lawn care industry has been the thousands of small businesses run by entrepreneurial individuals with the ability to adjust to changing conditions and still meet customers’ demands.” These hard-working people are looking for like-minded individuals to help them serve their customers. But it’s not always so easy.
Landscaping businesses struggle to find, train, and manage two types of employees:
- Those who are career-oriented and on a management track
- Those who are willing to work on-demand, seasonally, and on a temporary basis
Jobber Academy reports that 56% of landscaping companies have open positions and the “skills gap with youth employment remains a large concern” along with retaining key employees. As with other field services companies, landscaping businesses are adopting new recruiting and employee retention tactics. They’re leveraging social channels, focusing on building healthy cultures, providing training opportunities, and introducing reward and recognition programs.
By offering an attractive employer “value prop,” landscaping businesses can find, hire, and keep the best of the best.
Get some fresh ideas in How to Hire and Manage Talented Millennials To Field Service, 4 Steps to Creating a Mobile Field Services Workforce Culture, and 5 Tips To Take Care Of Your Field Service Workers.
- Keeping Up with Government Regulations
Landscaping businesses are subject to many regulations that impact the equipment they buy and use, the materials and ingredients in their lawn care products, and the benefits they provide to employees. Using the right leaf blowers and fertilizer, avoiding certain pesticides, offering (or not offering) health insurance…these are just a few considerations. And these regulations change and are different from region to region, state to state, and even town to town.
And let’s just scratch the surface of the safety and health standards outlined on OSHA.gov. Common landscaping violations involve personal protective equipment, vehicle-mounted elevating and rotating work platforms, head protection, eye and face protection, and hazard communication. That’s “heavy” stuff.
It’s lot for a landscaping business owner to keep track of, ensure compliance with, and protect against. It can take a lot of time to manage, and it’s a challenging part of doing business in the industry. But taking an active role in industry associations like The National Association of Landscape Professionals is a great way to stay informed and have a voice in policy-making.
Competition is healthy. It keeps businesses on their toes, helps ensure customers have various in-demand options and products, and keeps pricing honest. But that’s only if you’re competing against reputable, professional organizations.
Unfortunately, in most markets across the landscaping industry, there are fly-by-night operations that may be unlicensed and not have any expertise in the area. The fact is that landscaping requires knowledge and skill, expertise and customer service—and only the “best” landscaping companies can deliver the goods over the long-haul, season after season.
And it’s dependable, valuable service that can help the best of the best stay ahead. According to a consumer survey by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, price (69%) and quality (68%) are equally valued as the most important traits when selecting a lawn care or landscape company. Also ranking high on the list were customer service (35%), references/recommendations (33%), and licensed/certified staff (26%), followed by types of services offered (9%), offering sustainable practices (9%), and the image or look of the company and employees (6%).
Want to gain a competitive edge and get new customers? Read How to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Commercial Field Services Business and How Field Service Businesses Can Amplify Word of Mouth Marketing.
Technology use can also set you apart when it’s leveraged to help you take care of your customers. We talk all about this in Technology’s Role In Increasing Customer Satisfaction, so take a look.
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